The infinitely small boating-related corner of my inconsequential nautical world in Annapolis survived several hits in 2012. But what little activity remains of my social life was greatly diminished by the death in September of a colorful Eastportian character nicknamed “Budweiser Dave,” who was only 59.
Preparing to face some hot, light-air cruising during the dog days of August required some adjustments to my regular Chesapeake Bay sailing routine of seeking out and following the wind. This meant accepting the cruel fate of motoring more than absolutely necessary and making it boring, rather than interesting and challenging.
I had a traumatic experience in early June when a large panel of my UV-degraded reefed mainsail split from leech to luff while homeward-bound. The sail had to come off for a quickie temporary repair that I learned would cost some $300, a replacement panel for about $600 or a new sail for $1,000-plus. I visited a few sail lofts, even Bacon’s Used Sails, in desperation for almost anything that would fit and not interrupt my summer pleasures on the water.
My first cruise of the season was like many others before it in one respect, the destination, but totally different in another because there was wind — and plenty of it. I set off May 25 from Annapolis under sail, bound for Oxford once again.
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Jack has been cruising Chesapeake Bay and writing about the region for more than 25 years. His critically acclaimed book, "Maryland's Vanishing Lives," was published by Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University Press and is now in its second printing. Before joining Soundings, Jack was a feature writer at the Washington (D.C.) Star for nearly 20 years and a senior editor at Chesapeake Bay magazine from 1995 to 1998. His monthly Bay Tripper column focuses on the Chesapeake.